Thursday, June 28, 2012

Now it starts to look like a boat...

Well, although my original estimate of having a boat in the water in a month has truly been shot down. For the last three weeks we really haven't been doing anything because of the previously mentioned hospital visits. We got going again at the weekend and did some assemblage last night.
It went really well and we got lots done.

This is a close-up of the prow/front of the boat. I had a drawing of the the oak centrepiece you can see there. I printed this out using a piece of software called Bigprint by Matthias Wendel who's a well known youtuber. This allows me to print out a dimensionally accurate drawing of the breasthook which I then glue on (with paper glue) to the piece of oak that we're using. Tis then cut out ont the bandsaw and this defines the shape of the prow of the boat. You would think that the gunnels would define it and in fairness you could let them but I prefer to let the computer define then and bend the gunnels to it. The oak breasthook is dowelled to the gunnels in this case but if ya don't have a doweller then you cane use whatever other method you'd like, biscuit joining or tenoning, etc.
At the front the two gunnels are half-lapped together and then we used plenty of glue and then dowelled through. This is done by drilling holes and then using dowels with lots of glue on them pushed through. We used chopsticks that were left over from excursions down to Sushi Bay! As you can see we screws blocks to the deck to stop them separating but it still didn't work quite as well as we would have liked and there was a little separation in the joint at the top. A bit more preparation in fixing our blocks to the deck would have probably solved that.



One of the most important things when building any boat is to have a centreline. On the currach we are using the lines of the decking and working off them. This works out pretty well .. if I wasn't using them I would build some kind of base so that I could mark a centreline on it and work off that.
Once the front it together it's pretty much time for the seats. We're using ash for the seats but you use anything you like really, if you have extra fir left over then just make it out of that, consistent thickness would be useful though.



This is a 3-seater currach, in that there will be three people rowing, but there will be 5 seats altogether with the potential for two passengers. As you can see from the above picture (before the seats go in) we are just pulling the gunnels into to position for the first rowing seat. On this currach that measurement is 78 inches from the front and the seat is 42 inches wide at that point. (all of this will be in the detail drawing at the end) It being 42 inches it MUST be measured from the centre out. So for anyone mathematically challenged that would be 21 inches from the centreline to the outside of the boat! You can use blocks or whatever ya want to keep each side in position..




You can see the three seats fixed in, ash boards about 8.5 inches wide. We get the boards in position, clamp them down and then drill 4 holes and dowel them with 3/8's dowels and lots of glue. Take the clamps off then and the middle two dowels ya see are covering up decking screws. The picture above is of the middle rowing seat, as ya can see we arranged that this would land on the joint that's in the gunnel to give it extra strength.
Each seat hold the shape of the boat while the next part is bent in.The back piece took a nice bit of persuasion to get it in to where it was meant to be. This is one of the main differences between a Dingle Currach and ones from Clare or Donegal. That sweep at the back into quite a narrow arse on the boat is not half as pronounced in other currachs. The achill one comes close but this shape is what makes the Naomhóg so recognisable. The width at the back is 22 inches but can be narrower for racing currachs, for people such as ourselves who are not experienced currach rowers then we felt it was better to have the extra couple of inches.

We have the gunnels running a little over at the moment to allow us to fasten them. If we had extra length to play with we would have done the same thing at the front.

All in all this was a pretty straightforward process, it was deadly to see the boat really take shape. We still have a seat to put in at the back and the front but it's pretty straighforward and the wood is there so should get it done this weekend.
After that we're on to preparing the lower gunnel to receive the upper gunnel....

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